FOR YEARS we have been accustomed to the idea that sleeper trains were a thing of the past. Slow, uncomfortable and uncompetitive with zippy low cost airlines. The grand days of the Orient Express and the Night Ferry were deemed to be over
But all of a sudden, that is changing. We are waking up to the many benefits of environmentally sustainable travel on the trains that pound through the night. Our own Caledonian Sleeper from Euston to Scotland, with its newly built carriages, is ever more popular. (Try booking in the summer months!) This week a new service was launched across the heart of Europe – from Brussels to Berlin via Amsterdam.
According to the Brussels Sleeper company “the new service is not just relevant for the cities on the route. Other attractive options for train travel come into play as well. For example from Berlin to London (change in Brussel for the Eurostar) and Berlin to Paris (change in Brussels for the Thalys).”
Initially the service will run three times a week, departing Berlin on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and Brussels on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There are plans to extend to Dresden and Prague, But these may be inhibited by the shortage of sleeping cars – in the bad old days, we sent too many to the scrapyard.
Prices are 100 euros for a sleeping compartment and 150 euros for a deluxe car with its own bathroom and a desk. Many are clearly convinced this is a fair price to pay for arriving fresh and relaxed and with a clear environmental conscience.